Saturday, April 20, 2013

Long Time Gone . . . Ester's Doll Baby


Well,  if that ain't little Ester's doll baby. I remember just as good when Sary made it -- though it was many a year ago. Sary's been gone, law, forty years or more and little Ester -- well, I forgot, you didn't never know either of them. 
Little Ester, she was the sweetest thing and the baby of the family. Prettiest yellow hair you ever did see ... She must of been five or six when she come down with polio -- you remember, back before they made that vaccine?

They weren't nothing much they could do for it then and it crippled the young un's legs something awful  to where she had to lay in the bed or sometimes they'd carry her outside and make a pallet for her ny the side of the field where they was working. There was this old quilt she just loved  to lay on and then she got to where all the time it had to be on her bed or wheresomever she was and if  Sary tried to get it away to put it in the wash, little Ester took on so pitiful, it like to break your heart.

Well, the quilt was pert near wore out when Ester first got it and finally it was plumb coming to pieces -- not hardly fit for nothing. So Sary took and  cut front and back of a doll out of the little bit of the quilt that weren't all in holes and she stitched up this doll baby.   I give her that doily to make a hat and Sary sewed on buttons for eyes.   

Oh, how little Ester loved that doll baby! She hugged and loved on it all the time.  Then when some of the stiffness begun to pass out of her legs, she would pull herself along the ground or the house floor with that doll  always in one hand. Reckon that's how it got so dirty...

What happened to her? Why the doctor put her in them old metal braces and she got to where she could walk again -- she went to school and made a fine woman. Married a feller from Spring Creek and they moved to Detroit.  They come back most years for Decoration Day -- next time she's here, if you don't care, I'll see does she want her doll back.

You know, me and Bernice was talking the other day and we was remembering the old times  and what all we missed about them -- back when the doctor would come to your house and families weren't spread all over the way they are now, and Bernice, she says, Well, I tell you one thing I don't miss and that's polio.  

And Bernice's granddaughter Krissy -- she graduated high school last year and is working at the bank -- Krissy speaks up and says, What's polio?

Makes a body thankful, don't it? I said to Bernice.
 
I don't really know the story behind this doll -- it was a recent gift from a friend. It's probably made from an old quilt -- the fabric looks like flour sack fabric from the thirties and the doily/cap could be from the same era. But who knows when an old used-up quilt was turned into a doll? 

She seems kind of powerful, whatever her story. 
 
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12 comments:

Pat in east TN said...

What a nice story you created to go with that precious doll, and what a wonderful gift to have been given.

When my mother-in-law passed, my one sister-in-law took a couple of her oldest quilts and had them made into bears for us. It was a very meaningful gift and we treasure them.

Kath Marsh said...

Love the story. What a wonderful way to make memories live.

NCmountainwoman said...

I love the story. I'm seriously thinking you need to do a book of short stories.

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

My goodness, just how many memories can you crowd into so few words? And the cadence of the words made it so real.

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

I always love your photos, but this reminds me your true and precious art as a wordsmith. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Frances said...

I truly enjoyed Ester's Doll Baby. I agree with you that the quilt doll definitely has power.

xo

Star said...

Lovely story to go with a much loved precious doll baby. Thank you Vicki.

Deanna said...

She looks quite loved.

Perfect story.

Ms. A said...

Goodness! That sounds like some of my older Carolina kinfolk talking! You did that well!

Linda@VS said...

I love this story, Vicki! Makes me want to just keep on readin' and readin' 'bout Ester and Sary and what become of all of 'em.

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Darla said...

I love it when an object or photo can inspire such a wonderful story.